The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today voted on three utility cases—St. Joe Natural Gas Company, Peoples Gas System, and Florida Power & Light Company—all related to hurricane cost recovery.
“Florida’s utilities restore service as quickly as possible—oftentimes navigating dangerous conditions—after destructive storms impact our state,” said PSC Chairman Gary Clark. “The Commission thoroughly reviews the accuracy of storm costs to ensure that only prudent costs are recovered in customer bills.”
St. Joe Natural Gas Company
The PSC approved an interim storm restoration recovery charge that allows St. Joe Natural Gas Company (St. Joe) to recover costs for Hurricane Michael, which hit Florida in October 2018.
St. Joe requested recovery of $381,512 over four-years. With Commission approval, St. Joe’s residential customers will see a bill impact ranging from $1.68 to $3.10 per month based on usage. St. Joe will notify customers of the charge in April bill inserts.
This interim recovery charge is subject to refund pending a future PSC hearing when St. Joe’s actual storm restoration costs will be fully reviewed. St. Joe serves 2,997 residential and commercial customers and its service area includes Mexico Beach, Port St. Joe, and unincorporated areas in Gulf County.
Peoples Gas System
The PSC approved an agreement for Peoples Gas System (Peoples) that adjusts the costs recoverable for Hurricane Michael and establishes future process improvements for cost-effective and timely storm damage recovery and service restoration. Peoples and OPC filed the agreement on February 12, 2020.
In July 2019, the PSC approved an interim storm restoration recovery charge for Peoples’ costs associated with Hurricane Michael, subject to refund pending review of actual restoration costs. The charge was applied to customer bills between August 2019 and December 2019. With the PSC’s approval today, an over-recovery of $186,149 will be credited to Peoples’ 2020 Energy Conservation Cost Recovery Clause filing and returned to customers through the true up of allowable costs/expenses.
TECO Peoples Gas System, Florida’s largest natural gas distribution utility, serves about 370,000 customers across Florida, and is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Florida Power & Light Company
The PSC approved a delay in a one-time audit of Florida Power & Light Company’s (FPL) new application software designed to keep storm restoration costs in check. This audit was included in an agreement the PSC approved in July 2019 for FPL’s Hurricane Irma restoration costs. Hurricane Irma hit Florida on September 10, 2017, causing more than 4.4 million FPL customers to lose power.
FPL’s use of the smart phone application will track outside contractors’ costs and expenses. The audit to measure the application’s effectiveness is delayed because it has yet to be deployed during actual storm restoration efforts. The application will be used during the first named tropical system (per the National Hurricane Center) with claimed damages exceeding $250 million. The PSC audit will follow FPL’s restoration efforts.
FPL serves nearly 5 million customer accounts in Florida.
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